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Chinese investments into Ghana through Ecobank have increased by almost 15% over the past year, says Managing Director of the bank, Samuel Ashitey Adjei.


“The number of Chinese businesses, quantum of inflows, deposits and facilities to Chinese companies with local presence have increased by nearly 15%, while foreign exchange inflows and deposits -- virtually non-existent a few years back -- are currently in excess of US$110million,” he said.


Chinese goods have become a major source of imports, ranking number-one with a 15.9% share. Direct investment has also increased significantly in major sectors, notably in the construction and infrastructural sector.


Mr. Ashitey Adjei attributed the dramatic growth to the recent collaboration between the Bank of China and Ecobank Ghana.
The Bank of China in April 2011 created a desk at Ecobank Ghana as part of its effort at establishing a presence in Africa to facilitate trade and investment between China and the continent.


The Chinese bank subsequently seconded some of its senior marketing staff to Ecobank’s China desk, providing both the Chinese and Ghanaian customers of the bank access to the resources and strength of both banks while removing language and cultural barriers that tend to inhibit business.


“The strength of these relationships is evident in the increased level of China-related transactions going through the bank,” said Mr. Adjei.
He was speaking at the 2012 Ghana-China Trade Forum in Accra hosted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ecobank Ghana Limited. Ghanaian and Chinese business executives, policymakers and other key stakeholders were brought together to discuss issues that impact directly on trade and investment.


The forum created the environment for a genuine and informed debate, and sought to discover new ways of improving trade between the two countries in a manner that will benefit the participants.


It showcased booths from institutions including the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), the China Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (CECC), the Ghana China Chamber of Commerce (GCCC), and Ecobank Ghana Limited.


Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, Gao Wenzhi, said Ghana and China have enjoyed a long-established relationship and deep-rooted friendship.


In 2011, 79 Chinese investment projects were registered at the GIPC, with total value of US$145million, he said.
These projects covered construction, mining, steel, building materials, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, food processing, fisheries, agriculture, and salt production.


He encouraged Ghanaian merchants to attend trade-fairs in China to find more business opportunities.
“Guangzhou Trade Fair is held twice a year in April and October. Yiwu Commodity Fair is another important fair worthy of attendance for small commodities and retailers.


“Some stands are specially provided free of charge to African countries to encourage and help small merchants expand their business.”
Mr. Adjei indicated that Ecobank is delighted to be part of the prospects of what has been a very rapid growth in Sino-Ghanaian trade.


 “International trade and investment is a constant work in progress. It is therefore important that interest groups and stakeholders dialogue through the process to continually identify areas of common interest and collaboration, while collectively addressing any constraint that may arise,” he said.

www.thebftonline.com

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